Looking for American "brick-sentence"
Thread poster: Maria Drangel

Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:38
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
May 26, 2009

Hi my friends!

When I am translating I come across them the whole time. Sentences in English, normally American English, where nouns are placed on top of eachother in a way so that it is impossible to interpret which meaning (grammatically) each word has in the sentence. It can be something like "Manager of bla, bla, bla, bla" (and it keeps going and going). Now when I am writing an article about difficulties which translators face during technical translation I just can´t seem to find any such sentence in my work. Does anyone of you have such a sentence to send my way? It would be much appreciated. I hope that you know what I mean - ask if I was too unclear!

Thanks in advance!

/Maria


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:38
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Large terms overview May 26, 2009

Hi Maria,

You mean terms like:
small business management software solutions services
?

Regards,
Gerard


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:38
Russian to English
+ ...
Here's a good one May 26, 2009

"The Workers' Compensation Claims Examiner job description template includes the following job summary. . ."

http://jobfunctions.bnet.com/Human%20Resources/Job%20Descriptions/Human%20Resources%20Job%20Descriptions/

And then there's this recent posting in the Business Issues Forum:

"Translation business management software suggestions"

It isn't a complete sentence, but the problem is the same.

You can find all kinds of linguistic articles on the subject by googling "noun-noun compounds" and "noun-plus-noun constructions."


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 03:38
English to Croatian
+ ...
Example May 26, 2009

Maria Drangel wrote:

Hi my friends!

"Manager of bla, bla, bla, bla" (and it keeps going and going). Now when I am writing an article about difficulties which translators face during technical translation I just can´t seem to find any such sentence in my work.

/Maria


Hi Maria,

Are you looking for a sentence or a noun phrase?

Can you give us a full example?

Multi-word phrases are common in English, where the noun phrase head is usually at the end of the phrase, whereas the nouns/adjectives preceding it functioning as adjectives or noun
premodifiers that in some way describe or determine(identify) the noun closer.

In the above example by James:

"Translation business management software suggestions"

suggestions=noun phrase head

software premodifies "suggestions"

translation business management premodifies " software suggestions"

etc. ( you can continue the phrase within a phrase analysis)

It can also be subject to great ambiguities, for example, is it:

1. Software suggestions for translation business management

or

2. Suggestions for translation business management software

Context helps in clearing up the ambiguities.

There is a great tendency for such constructions in English. Whereas what comes before the NP head in English, in Serbian commonly (not always) comes AFTER the NP head, if you want it to make sense.


[Edited at 2009-05-27 12:34 GMT]


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Daniel Grau  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
How about these, from an actual job? May 27, 2009

• The generally accepted activated sludge plant coarse bubble mixing air rate standard

• To help determine your enclosed track stand alone workstation bridge crane’s specific runway support centers, consider the following points:

Hot stick latch hook model web strap hoists have rings on the hook and latch for use on energized lines.

Regards,

Daniel


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:38
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Can be overdone May 27, 2009

I've seen several examples of "brick-sentences" (never heard this expression before) written by non-native speakers of English who create long terms of this kind with no prepositions, where a native English speaker would break them up with prepositions, not just to make them easier to understand, but because they just would not be written that way in English. Sorry, can't think of an example offhand.

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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:08
German to English
Stacked modifiers? May 27, 2009

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't what Maria is referring to as "brick sentences" technically known as "stacked modifiers?"

Here's another example:

Voluntary human kidney donor research institution personnel


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Mike Hindley
Local time: 02:38
German to English
Local English newspapers love this May 27, 2009

Is this the kind of thing you read on local newspaper advertising boards?

Something like:

Leeds triplet abortion mum jewellery theft shocker!

The Yorkshire Evening Post seems to have this down to a fine art, using only nouns to express any news story.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:38
English to Arabic
+ ...
Can I just express my horror! May 27, 2009

Daniel Grau wrote:

• The generally accepted activated sludge plant coarse bubble mixing air rate standard

• To help determine your enclosed track stand alone workstation bridge crane’s specific runway support centers, consider the following points:

Hot stick latch hook model web strap hoists have rings on the hook and latch for use on energized lines.

Regards,

Daniel


From an actual job you say, Daniel?! Writing sentences like that AND then giving them to unsuspecting translators should be a punishable offence!!


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Maria Drangel  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:38
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! May 29, 2009

Thank you everyone who participated in this! I didn´t know it was called "stacked modifiers" that helped a lot and all the other answeres were both helpful and some VERY ENTERTAINING as well! Have a great weekend!

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Glen McCulley
Local time: 03:38
French to English
+ ...
lol - and well-parodied in privateye too, though the bbc website's now sliding down that hill too... Jun 1, 2009

Mike Hindley wrote:

Is this the kind of thing you read on local newspaper advertising boards?

Something like:

Leeds triplet abortion mum jewellery theft shocker!

The Yorkshire Evening Post seems to have this down to a fine art, using only nouns to express any news story.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Headline-ese Jun 2, 2009

Mike Hindley wrote:

Is this the kind of thing you read on local newspaper advertising boards?

Something like:

Leeds triplet abortion mum jewellery theft shocker!

The Yorkshire Evening Post seems to have this down to a fine art, using only nouns to express any news story.


It's not only British newspapers that love this kind of "sentence". A couple of decades ago, the New York Post splashed this headline about the notorious murder of the philandering Scarsdale diet expert by his jealous lover, the headmistress of a fashionable girls' school:

POSH GIRL'S SCHOOL HEAD IN DIET DOC DEATH SHOCK.

For their headlines, editors like to combine as many monosyllables as possible (pity about "diet" - not quite a monosyllable - otherwise it would be perfect).

Best wishes,
Jenny




[Edited at 2009-06-02 06:43 GMT]


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